On 12th December, Alipay gave its users in Singapore a sweet treat – free ice cream right outside Takashimaya! 🙂 You might be familiar with Alipay if you’ve used it for your Taobao purchases before. Otherwise, read on…
Alipay (also known as 支付宝 in Mandarin) allows users to easily make payments for all sorts of transactions via their mobile phones. You might also be able to enjoy discounts at their partner merchants too, e.g. the 50% discount at partner restaurants on 12.12.
Though ‘Alipay’ might be new to some Singaporeans, it’s pretty big in China. In fact, a TechInAsia article states that “China’s online payment market is dominated by Alipay”.
Members use Alipay for money transfers, to share bills among themselves using QR codes (I wonder how that works), pay utility bills, purchase mobile phone credits, purchase train tickets and even pay for their groceries at certain supermarkets!
And it gets better…
“During Chinese New Year, users can send “red envelopes” (small monetary gifts) to friends and family members.”
Imagine that! Red packets can now be in digital form! 😀
Some statistics to wow you: Alipay has over 350 million registered users and handles more than 80 million transactions per day! That sheer volume means PayPal has a lot to do in order to even catch up. The same TechInAsia article also states that “Alipay has entered into a partnership with the Swiss tax refund company Global Blue that allows Chinese tourists abroad to credit value tax refunds on their overseas purchases directly to their Alipay accounts.” And knowing how the Chinese tourists spend lavishly overseas, it’ll add up to be a lot of money in tax refunds, for sure.
A TechnologyReview.com article revealed that members like to keep their savings in their Alipay Yu’ebao money market account, “where money accrues higher interest than it does in a traditional bank account.”
Assuming Alipay enters Singapore with this same model, yes, the banks might not be happy, but Singaporeans are bound to be delighted. Higher interest rates plus the added convenience when making payments to various companies? What’s not to love?
I do wish that Alipay sends me some sort of press release so I can know when they’ll expand into Singapore. When that happens, I’ll definitely update this blog. 🙂 I’m looking forward to finding out what the transaction fees are, because PayPal does charge me a substantial sum when I receive payments. So, “when will Alipay come to Singapore”? It’s anybody’s guess. But I do hope it’ll be soon.